Getting our clothes organised is one of the most common issues we face in our homes, and how to go about organising your wardrobe can be one of the first things people really want to get done as it makes such a difference to general day to day living.
I haven’t got anything to wear
I can’t find….
My …. is in the wash!
…. All common complaints heard in most homes daily.
We all have to get dressed every day, sometimes more than once for different activities – no wonder that without a system in place things can easily get messed up very quickly.
It even encompasses the laundry – as without a good system for washing, drying and ironing your clothes, then your wardrobe will eventually be bare!
So – how do you organise your wardrobe?
As always, following my ADORE system, there is an easy way to really sort your wardrobe (or chest of drawers etc…) so that it gets sorted, things are always accessible, and it stays that way – sound good?
Lets get going then….
It helps to get your wardrobe (or chest of drawers for that matter) completely empty when you get started, as you can then see exactly what you have in terms of clothes and also space for storing clothes once they go back in.
STEP TWO – Assess the space you have to work with
Miss this step out and you miss a trick.
If you have plenty of space, then you may be able to house all of your clothes back in the space but in an organised way, or you may have to think about storing some items elsewhere.
When you know what space you have, you can make decisions about how best to organise your wardrobe, and what would work for you.
Think about space elsewhere as well, but a word of caution here is that you don’t want to simply move the problem out of the wardrobe, and find that another room becomes a dumping ground for clothes clutter – think of every space in your home as vital space, and only mark out places that you would be able easily to store items (we are probably thinking here of out of season clothes, special occasion clothes etc….)
By now you should have a clear picture of what space you have to work with, what you would ideally like to go where (accessible vs. less accessible etc…, and an idea of the type of space you currently have (hanging, shelves, drawers etc…)
ASSESS AND DECLUTTER!
STEP THREE – Assess each item
Pick up each item of clothing and make a decision about it there and then – don’t procrastinate or this is the step that will overwhelm you and you won’t get any further.
The best way to sort things out is to create a pile for each of the following (7 in total):-
- KEEP – FREQUENT USE – Items that fit, that go with other items, that you wear often – or have worn in the last 3 months
- KEEP – INFREQUENT USE – Special occasion items such as evening wear, wedding dress, maternity wear
- KEEP – OUT OF SEASON – whatever is not worn in the season you are currently in
- KEEP – TO ACTION – items that require cleaning, mending etc… – NEEDS TO BE DONE ASAP – TOP PRIORITY! – you won’t wear them until these things get done so they are of no use or value at present
- CHARITY – Items in good condition that you don’t wear anymore
- RECYCLING – either to friends, ebay, freecycle, supermarket recycling bins etc..
- RUBBISH – ONLY GENUINE RUBBISH THAT NOONE WILL BE ABLE TO USE GOES HERE
“Be Ruthless – you only use 20% of your clothes 80% of the time!”
“Be Ruthless – you only use 20% of your clothes 80% of the time!”
Exceptions to the rule - If you are currently pregnant, then you can of course keep clothes that don’t fit – as you will be fitting them in a few months.
Some of the reasons you may want to stray from the rules and why you shouldn’t!-
You are keeping something because you love it and are waiting for it to come back into fashion – chances are that by the time it does come into fashion, either it will not fit you, or your tastes will have changed, or you will simply want to get some new clothes rather than reuse your old ones.
If you are currently losing weight, don’t be tempted to say that you will keep different sized clothes just for now – your subconscious will know that you have a get out clause in your wardrobe if you put weight on again, and if it takes a while to loe the weight, you may have changed your mind over what you will want to wear when you get there (you may also prefer to treat yourself as you go as an incentive).
Also, its very disheartening to open your wardrobe and have to hunt for things that fit – think how much better you will feel knowing that everything in your wardrobe can be worn there and then
STEP FOUR – What Should You Keep, and Where? – how to organise your wardrobe
You have now sorted out what you want to keep, and what space you have to keep everything in, so now comes the biggest trick, and thats working out what you actually want to keep in your wardrobe.
Think about the main organising tips such as “keep like with like” and “keep items that are used most often in prime positions”., as these ALWAYS help!
It is much easier to find a pair of trousers when all your trousers are in one place, and its easier to find your jeans when they are not hidden behind your wedding dress (over the top example but you get the idea!).
Everyone has a different way to sort their wardrobe, and here are a few ideas that may help:-
- Only have items that you wear often and love in your wardrobe, you should open the doors to your wardrobe and feel good about the choices that you have in there.
- Think about storing clothes you really need to keep but don’t need everyday in different locations – under the bed, in the loft, in a wardrobe in a guest bedroom etc… – still accessible, but occasionally rather than every day
- For purely sentimental items (wedding dress, christening gown etc..) – think about either displaying then, or store in deep storage areas (loft etc..) so that you can get them if you ever need to – but this will be rare. Make sure that they are stored properly as well otherwise when you do come to take them out you may be in for a nasty surprise… (TIP – why not take a photo of the outfit and keep that close so that you can see it when you want without the bulk of the actual outfit)
- Out of season clothes can be kept out of the way but accessible – as weather can be variable in the UK! – simply rotate when seasons change.
- Sort according to colour, style, type or a mix of those (i.e. by type, then style, then colour so that you can very easily find that black top for a night out!)
For those of you who want a real life example here is how I sort my own wardrobe and clothes out.
I don’t have a huge amount of storage, so have to be careful about where things go.
I sort my clothes as follows:-
- In my hanging space – I hang from left to right as follows (I am right handed so the right hand side is more accessible to me as well – this is very organised and maybe a step too far for some I know – but it does save a few seconds each day)
- Going out clothes – dresses, tops, Skirts, trousers
- Working Outfits – dresses, tops, skirts, trousers
- Casual wear – dresses, tops, skirts, trousers
- Below this I have space for fitness clothes and my gym bag
- In shelving I put my jeans, jumpers and t shirts
- In my chest of drawers I store underwear and accessories, and on top of this I have a jewellery organiser
- I sort everything in colour as well – so its easy to find my purple casual top when I need it quickly!
- Evening dresses, wedding dress, skiing clothes etc.. are all kept either in the loft or in the guest bedroom
- Out of season clothes are kept in storage under my bed (I have a FANTASTIC storage bed (see left) that holds loads and stops anything getting dusty – also I like this method as I can still access these clothes really easily if theres a cold day and its summer (surely not in the UK!)
STEP FIVE – How Should I Store My Clothes?
Here are some questions and tips that are a great start in getting a really fantastic working system for your clothes, now that you have decided exactly where you want to put them all. For all the spaces you have available, ask yourself the following questions -
- What items will work best stored where?
- Do you need more hanging space, drawer space, or other storage?
- Can you add a shelf above or below the hanging space?
- Can you add storage above the wardrobe or underneath?
- Can you add boxes inside your wardrobe for shoes etc…?
- Can you add extra hanging space? – doubling up hanging space with a rail at the top and a rail halfway down can be a great way of doubling up space if you have mostly hanging items.
- Can you add hooks on the door for accessories or jewellery?
- Is everything visible – if you can’t see everything then you may well not wear it – and theres no point in that!
If you store your clothes with all this in mind, then you will find that choosing and accessing your outfit each day is so easy!
At this stage you will have the beginnings of a personalised system that has taken no outlay at all for you to do apart from time and effort.
However, you may well want to go that one step further and maximise the space further by using the correct products.
I only ever look at purchasing items when I have totally sorted out the available space and the actual items I want to keep, then I know that I am going to buy the correct things to help rather than hinder and cause more clutter and waste money.
There are reviews on this site of products that I really think help as well – take a look!
STEP 6 – Living With It For a While!
Now you have sorted your clothes out, created space for them, and found the best way to store them so that they will be easy to find as and when required.
Next step is to live with the system, and to work with it as you go day to day.
Clothes are constantly needed, and so need to be constantly looked after to stay organised otherwise they will very quickly get messed up and cluttered again.
To try and stay on top of your clothes while living you life, create some new habits:-
- Work on a one in one out policy for future purposes so that you don’t become overwhelmed ever again.
- When you are shopping for new items, it’s always best to know what you need, and what it will go with – when you are at home spend a little time working out what items go with what, and what you need to complete an outfit – that way you are only ever getting more value out of what you already have, and not wasting time and money on buying items that you won’t wear because you don’t need it and/or you haven’t got anything to wear it with.
- Rotate your clothes as the seasons change – add a date to your diary to change your clothes over, and maybe some shopping time too! Also think about rotating clothes if you have lots – so that you get to wear them all!
- Treat your clothes with respect and look after them – an organised wardrobe means you will get more wear and value from every piece of clothing that you have – saving you time and money.
- Take photos of you wearing the clothes, and add them to the wardrobe door on the inside – that way you can see at a glance what you look like in things, what goes together, and what you want to wear. This makes it even easier to put outfits together quickly, and easy to see what isn’t used.
- Plan your outfit the night before – if you want to be really organised think ahead – if you know what clothes you need for the following day you can hang them out ready so that you don’t need to rush around in the morning ironing or having lost a vital accessory (although the more organised you become the less likely this is to happen!)
When it comes to evaluating the system you have put in place, you want to be able to tweak anything that doesn’t work for you very well.
Are you finding it hard to find items quickly still, can you hang them in a different order?, do you still feel that you have too many clothes? – there are many ways that you may need to evaluate, and getting into the habit of upkeep will make life so easy – especially if you have a life change that means a wardrobe change (new job, losing weight etc..)
- If you are unsure what you do actually wear, get into the habit of having all coathangers hooks facing the same way when they are put into the wardrobe, and then when an outfit has been worn, put the hanger back but turned around. This is a really quick way of seeing at a glance what you have actually worn, and what you thought you needed on the first sort through may actually not be realistic and you may be able to get rid of more than you thought!
- On a yearly basis go through your wardrobe and ensure that you have all the staples for your look, and that they are in good condition – if not, replace them! Items that can be considered staples are things like a good pair of jeans, a white shirt, a little black dress, knee length boots, strappy shoes, trainers, a good gym kit etc…. whatever you need that works for your look. It is also worth considering getting items that are purely for that season, to give you a fresh look.
For ease I have created a one sheet bullet point guide that will help you to get sorted quickly – simply click and printout!:-